Carol Holden, president of the West Virginia Breeders Cup Classic races, has demonstrated how women play a significant role in the sport of thoroughbred racing.
This year’s nine-race event will occur on Saturday, Oct. 10, at the Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races. Post time is 7 p.m.
Founded 34 years ago, the event has awarded more than $28 million in purses, as well as making numerous donations to area charities. Over the years, many woman trainers have had success.
While overseeing the event since it began, Holden, a Middleburg-based horsewoman and business executive, has watched 26 women trainers register victories.
Carlyne Tapscott, of Upper Marlboro, Md., recently recalled her win with Perfect Cross in the 2014 WV Thoroughbred Breeders Association “Onion Juice” Breeders Classic.
“I got him as a baby,” she said. “He has a big personality and running style, I still have him. He broke sharp and came from out of it down the stretch. He won by a neck or a half length.”
And many others also have great memories. The first female trainer to win one of the WVBC races was in 1994 -- Janene M. Watson in the West Virginia Thoroughbred Development Fund BC with Ani’s Ara owned by B.R. Major and O’Sullivan Farm and bred by O’Sullivan Farms and H.W. Dick Co. Inc. This was followed on the same evening with trainer Kathleen Kelley winning the Jefferson County Financial Community/WV Thoroughbred Development Fund BC with Wiloso, owned and bred by Bebe R. Dalton.
In 1995, Kelley came back to win the feature West Virginia Breeders Classic with Cavada, also owned and bred by Bebe Dalton. Since then, the Classics now has the Cavada race for fillies and mares in honor of the first filly to win the Classic.
Elaine Hagy of Charles Town has the distinction of being the owner, breeder and trainer of Little Bet Only, winner of the 1996 Vincent Miscarelli Memorial race. And trainer Maryann Iacone won two races in 1997 with Windy Hills Farm’s Stormin Katie in the F&M National Corporation race and the West Virginia Lottery Breeders Classic with Bobby’s Last Chance, owned by Rkana Racing and bred by Andrew Albright.
Watson returned to the winner’s circle in the 1999 West Virginia Division of Tourism Breeders Classic with her own Siouxperhoney, bred by O’Sullivan Farms.
Karen E. Duke won the same race in 2002 with Shesanothergrump, bred by Robert H. Lloyd and owned by Kenneth L. Pitta. Then in 2003, Duke came back to win the race now known as the Cavada. The horse was Sweet Annuity, also bred by Lloyd and owned by Pitta.
Amy Albright is credited with a hat trick of victories in 2004, 2005 and 2006 Dash For Cash Breeders Classic with Not For Sam (named in honor of co-founder Sam Huff), owned by Diamond Oak Stable and bred by Ralph S. Thomas.
The Dash For Cash win in 2007 went to trainer Keisy Cartagena with her horse Missacity Luke, bred by S. C. Brown. In 2008, two women trainers recorded wins. Susan Cooney trained Leva Mae for owner Up in Front Stables bred by John F. Jones in the Triple Crown Nutrition. And, Jean L. Rofe won the Farm Family Insurance Vincent Moscarelli Memorial race with Pagan Cat, owned and bred by Nancy M. Camp. In 2011 the Rofe team returned , to win the “Onion Juice” West Virginia Thoroughbred Breeders Classic.
Meanwhile, other victorious women trainers include Deborah Ketterman in 2009 and 2012, Sandra A. Dono in 2012 and Keturah E. Obed-Letts in 2013. In 2018, Leslie Condon was the owner, trainer and breeder of Scythe, the winner of the Dash For Cash Breeders Cup.
All of this brings us to 2019, when trainer Crystal Picket won two Breeders Classic races.
For more information on the 2020 races: www.wvbc.com